‘Mi Comida Latina’ : a hand-drawn guide to Latin cuisine.


The recipe for lomo saltado, Peruvian beef and potatoes, as well as the typical fish soup yucacalado in Ecuador and northern Peru.
Flip through Mi Comida Latina’s page and you’ll soon fall under its spell. The pages of this cookbook are full of vibrant watercolor illustrations and recipes written in fine handwriting, which let us remember calligraphy as a dying art. The final result combines the appeal of children’s books, the promise of good food and the intimacy of a diary.
That makes sense, since the book was inspired by the sketch book by author and illustrator Marcella Kriebel, who began writing in 2004, when she made her first trip to Latin America. She began to improve her Spanish, but returned after falling in love with her culture. For her, food became an important way to connect with these cultures. She took notes and illustrations when she watched the family cook preparing meals at home.
She said: “as soon as I get there, I will be inspired by people’s warmth and cultural vitality, these cultures can be found in a lot of different things – vision, smell and the food itself.”
Those journals are likely to remain private, and Kriebel did not lose her job as an art installation technician at the DC museum in 2012. This gave her a catalyst to convert her travel notes into recipes published last year.
Latin document page “diet recipes from across Latin America her travel in many countries, including Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Puerto Rico and Mexico, to name a few, from family recipes and friends in the United States. Kriebel, not a Latin American, hopes to pick up the book’s readers as she sees food: an invitation to explore the world.
I recently talked to Kriebel. The highlight of our conversation is the length and clarity of the editor.
What are your most vivid food-related memories from your travels?
So every time I cut an onion, it reminds me. One of my host families in Quito, Ecuador, whose name was Marco Fiallo, taught me an effective way to cut Onions, a technique I’ve been using. So the memory is, you know, I didn’t cut the onion properly, so he said, so he took the knife from me and showed me the sequence of steps. This is the magical moment, that, “aha! It was such an easy moment. Especially that memory is very important to me, because it’s the skill that I use every day.
Do you have a favorite recipe in this book?
They are my favorite recipes, because they’re in the book, you know. … All of these are things I do regularly here. But what I think is special is that it is very distinctive, really colorful and beautiful is llapingacho. This is a Fried Ecuadorian potato pancake, with some cheese in the middle, which melts and then puts a Fried egg on top, with a marinated beet salad, chili sauce and avocado. It is often accompanied by sausages.
I think that’s because it started as a journal project. I think it’s very precise, it’s a refined version of the experience of the sketchbook. So I want to keep the level of authenticity and first-person [opinion]. But, as you can imagine, writing a complete book is an incredible task, and editing is indeed a delicate task. I mean, it’s a very egalitarian part of the art project and the recipe. As a first artist and a person who loves cooking and sharing recipes, sharing with the world is a very special thing for me.
I hope they are inspired to travel and try new foods. I want people to realize that, in terms of Latin American cuisine, this is not an absolute part of salt and spices. So I want to inspire people to try new things in the kitchen. There is a whole world here, and the excitement is that food can be the driving force for experiencing the world and understanding people. Food is a lens for experiencing culture.
I just signed a contract for another book and I’m doing a lot of research now. I’m going to write a book about Cuba. I’ve never been to Cuba. I’m going to go in March. This is actually maria gonzalez and me. She is a cuban-american and will write technical writing for all of Cuba’s signature dishes. So it’s still through my lens, but I’m happy to bring maria to light all these classic Cuban dishes. It will be heavily illustrated, watercolor and all about Cuba.